This is curious. Theres a reason federal judges tend not to post their photos online. The U.S. Marshals Service, which is charged with protecting the federal judiciary, actually does discourage the practice, according to a spokesman. We encourage them to keep a low profile online, and we actually do provide this information during judge orientations. And while theres no formal policy in place, its something that we discourage for obvious reasons, just because of our responsibility to protect the judiciary. The final decision on whether to use photos appears to be up to the individual courts.
Washington (CNN)Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh on Wednesday described Roe v. Wades right to abortion as settled — “important precedent” — yet he has also narrowly interpreted when a woman can exercise that right.
Sen. Patrick Leahy Sets Memogate Trap for Supreme Court Nominee Brett Kavanaugh
It seems Kavanaugh or someone working for him decided not too long ago that it was time to ignore the marshal services guidance. The first photo to make an appearance on his bio page, according to the Internet Archives Wayback Machine, showed up sometime between August 2016 and October 2016, or right around the time Trump announced his second Supreme Court shortlist. (Kavanaugh wasnt on that list or on the one before it.)
This, at least as far as the Internet Archive is aware, is the very first iteration of Kavanaughs page on the D.C. Circuit website. It was a bit longer than the other judges bios but by no means out of the ordinary for a well-shampooed product of the American meritocratic order.
Then, at some point not too long before Election Day in 2016, Kavanaugh — whom we invoke here synecdochically — decided it was time to give his page a makeover. Not only did he completely overhaul the text on his bio page, but his photo made its very first appearance.
Not long after Election Day, Kavanaugh did a little bit of cleanup. While we didnt get a photo change, he did make a few key additions to his resume.
Perhaps most notably in this version, Kavanaugh appears to have realized that extra-legal does not actually mean extracurricular but for judges.
At some point between late April 2017 and mid-July of this year, Kavanaugh seems to have decided that his berobed, yearbook-style mugshot wasnt capturing his full Brett-ness. This was an important period for him. In November 2017, it emerged that hed finally made Trumps Supreme Court shortlist. Somewhere around this time, the new photo appeared. Kavanaugh had graduated from Jostens to Olan Mills.
The text, too, got a few more updates: a couple of additions to his resume, an unclear tense change on his volunteer work, and the clarification that his wife, Ashley (not me), is serving in a strictly nonpartisan role in her position as town manager of Section 5 of Chevy Chase Village, Maryland.
Untouched is the reference to Judge Alex Kozinski of the 9th Circuit, for whom Kavanaugh clerked earlier in his career. Kozinski quit the bench in December 2017 amid allegations of sexual misconduct involving more than a dozen women, some of them his former clerks. On Wednesday, the second day of his Supreme Court confirmation hearing, Kavanaugh said those allegations were a gut punch for me, adding that he was shocked and disappointed. Angry. Swirl of emotions.
So why did Kavanaugh decide — around the time Trump was picking Supreme Court nominees — that he needed to have a photo next to his name, despite the warnings of the U.S. Marshals Service? And why was the text of his page tweaked and polished so often over the past few years, despite the fact that, until August 2016, it appears to have remained untouched?
One thing we do know is that, over the past few months, a number of people who stand very much to gain from Brett Kavanaughs rise to the Supreme Court have been letting everyone know just how great Brett Kavanaugh would be on the Supreme Court.
We also know that Kavanaugh didnt mind making an effort when it came to getting his name onto Trumps list of potential nominees. As Jason Sattler wrote in USA Today last week, Kavanaugh campaigned for this appointment with a series of speeches in 2017 designed to align himself with former Justices Antonin Scalia and William Rehnquist in a way that elevated him to Trumps list after not making the first two drafts. And the timing of the various changes to his bio page certainly seem to indicate a quieter image-buffing campaign, going at least as far back as 2016.
Either way, if you know anything about why Brett Kavanaugh is the only federal appellate judge in the country with a vanity shot, you can shoot me an email here.
Censored emails show that Judge Brett Kavanaugh lied under oath about receiving stolen Democrat memos in 2003, Leahy says. If true, the consequences could be explosive.
In a surprise move, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) challenged Judge Brett Kavanaugh, President Trumps nominee to the Supreme Court, over Memogate, an obscure 2003 scandal that could engulf Kavanaughs nomination, during Wednesdays marathon confirmation hearing.
The scandal, largely forgotten today, involved two Republican congressional staffers stealing confidential memoranda from Senate Judiciary Committee computers and turning them over to GOP interest groups. It remains unknown whether the White House—where Kavanaugh was deputy White House counsel—also received the memos. In his 2006 confirmation hearing, and again this week, Kavanaugh swore that he did not.
But on Wednesday, Leahy suggested that the Senate Judiciary Committee has in its possession six emails that directly contradict Kavanaughs sworn testimony—which would mean he twice committed perjury.
If true, that would surely imperil the Kavanaugh nomination, which has been coasting through the Senate Judiciary Committee despite fierce (and impotent) Democratic opposition. Its one thing for Democrats to complain about improper vetting procedures—quite another if the nominee is caught blatantly lying under oath.
Memogate, as it was called at the time, involved the judicial confirmation process of Judge Priscilla Owen in 2003. Democrats objected that her views were outside the judicial mainstream, and successfully stalled the nomination until it was pushed through two years later as part of a bipartisan compromise.
As the White House official responsible for judicial nominations, Kavanaugh was at the center of that battle, as he affirmed in his testimony.
On Nov. 14, 2003, The Wall Street Journal published documents it described as Democratic staff strategy memos. An investigation by the senate sergeant at arms, published on March 4, 2004, revealed that a clerk for the committee, Jason Lundell, had accessed Democratic files from the committees server and provided them to Manuel Miranda, who had been a fellow clerk on the committee from 2001-03, but in 2003 was an aide to Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist.
Files of aides to Sens. Ted Kennedy, Richard Durbin, Dianne Feinstein, Joe Biden, Russ Feingold, and, perhaps most important, Leahy himself, had been leaked first to Miranda and then to conservative advocacy groups and the press.
(Miranda at first protested his innocence, then resigned and confessed, but said, among other things, My parents never taught me not to read other peoples mail. They always read my mail. The Bush administration chose not to prosecute him, and he went on to a career as a Republican activist, most notably in the opposition to the nomination of Justice Sonia Sotomayor.)
In a series of leading questions, Sen. Leahy attempted to trap Judge Kavanaugh into explicitly denying that he ever saw the memos—a trap Kavanaugh, whose job used to include prepping judicial nominees for adversarial hearings, deftly avoided.
First, Leahy implied that the committee also possessed evidence of an off-site meeting (maybe at a bar or restaurant) between Kavanaugh and Miranda, asking Kavanaugh if he recalled ever having such a meeting.
Next, Leahy pressed and asked if there were such a meeting, did Miranda ever hand you material separately from what would be emailed back and forth?
Finally, Kavanaugh asked Leahy what specific evidence he was referring to, and Leahy replied, wed have to ask the chairman what he has in the confidential material. A visibly angry Sen. Grassley replied that 80 percent of the material had been released to the public.
Finally, Leahy laid his cards out on the table. I am concerned, he said, because there is evidence that Mr. Miranda provided you with materials that were stolen from me. And that would contradict your prior testimony. It is also clear from public emails—and Im refraining from going into non-public ones—that you had reason to believe materials were obtained inappropriately at the time.
Then, turning to Sen. Grassley, he said, Mr. Chairman, there are at least six documents that you consider committee confidential that are directly related to this, [in addition to] three documents that are already public. These other six contain no personal information. No presidential-act-restricted material. There is simply no reason they wont be made public.
The game of chess, between a 40-year veteran of the Senate and an intelligent nominee whose job used to be coaching judicial nominees, was riveting to watch. But is there any substance behind it?
Well have to wait for the release of the documents. Perhaps Sen. Leahy is bluffing—or perhaps the once-certain Kavanaugh nomination is now in jeopardy.
If Kavanaugh is shown to have received the memos, he will have to fall back on his claim that there was nothing untoward about them and they escaped his notice (and memory). It would have not have been unusual, Kavanaugh said, for aides to say the Leahy people are looking into this and the Hatch people are looking into that.
But one of the seven aides whose memos were hacked, who spoke to The Daily Beast on the condition of anonymity, said that claim was absurd. Any Republican would know that theyre not supposed to be seeing internal Democratic staff memos, the aide said.
At the very least, the mere fact that the documents have been withheld lends credence to one of the Democrats primary objections to the Kavanaugh nomination: that with more than 100,000 pages of his records being concealed by the White House, and many more released to the committee but not to the public, it is impossible to conduct a thorough evaluation of Judge Kavanaughs candidacy.
Thus far, the Judiciary Committee has only received about 7 percent of the documents from Kavanaughs time in the Bush administration (457,000 documents), and Sen. Grassley has marked 189,000 of them as confidential.
Republicans were the ones chanting But Her Emails only two years ago, but Democrats have now learned the tune.